Electricity prices expected to go down in February

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2014 06:29 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2014 03:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Since power generation has returned to normal and temperatures are cool, the government sees easing of electricity prices.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has asked power utility Meralco to reflect actual generation charge if this is lower than the P5.67 implemented since November.

After Meralco's generation charge increase of P4.15 for December was stopped by the Supreme Court, the utility has pegged the charge at P5.67.

"Sabi namin, traditionally mas mababa yung February, so yun na muna ang ipatupad nila para mas mababa ang gencharge," Petilla said.

Meralco will release the actual generation charge next week, but its officials have already said they would agree to implement it if it's lower than P5.67.

"Kung mas mababa, that means a reduction," Meralco president Oscar Reyes said.

But consumers may still have to pay the increase in generation charge earlier halted by the court - P4.15 per kilowatt hour for December and P5.33 for January, once the court lifts the TRO.

But Senate energy committee chairman Serge Osmena said there is a way to mitigate the impact if the enormous spike must really be passed on to consumers.

"We can ask the ERC to mitigate ask them to spread out the recovery for 12 months," he said.

The Energy Regulatory Commission has confirmed it can actually extend up to 12 months the recovery period of power producers in order to lessen the impact on consumers.